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Rossmy, Beat and Wiethoff, Alexander (2019): COMB - Shape as a Meaningful Element of Interaction. In: Tei'19: Proceedings of the Thirteenth International Conference on Tangible, Embedded, and Embodied Interaction: pp. 287-295

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This paper introduces a tangible user interface (TUI) concept designed for child-oriented musical interaction and education called COMB. The interaction concept of the interface is based upon the natural behavior and metaphors found in children's play during construction with building-blocks. This paradigm is used to increase the accessibility of the otherwise expert-focused digital and electronic music creation to children. We evaluated our prototype during two different study setups. We found preliminary indications that this concept fosters imitation during learning. Therefore, the usage of shape as a meaningful element of interaction could be a promising design strategy for interfaces addressing children in this domain. In this paper we present the theoretical foundation of the concept as well as technical details of the prototype. Furthermore, we discuss how this concept can be applied to increase accessibility of technology in various other domains.

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